Today’s Chicago Sun-Times published an article about Christine Cegelis’ run for the 6th Congressional District seat in Illinois in 2006. (Christine, as you may remember, ran a strong grass-roots powered race against Henry Hyde in 2004.)
The article made many positive points about Christine and her campaign – her determination, her work ethic, her credentials and the fact that she “is not allied with and is independent of any of the various Democratic Party bosses in the state.” In other words, she is sort of a white, suburban Shirley Chisholm – “unbought and unbossed.” She does not shy away from her progressive values when it comes to foreign policy, privacy, workers’ rights or anything else. She has strong grassroots support from around the country. Bloggers contributed a great deal to her fund-raising last quarter. But, apparently not enough.
DCCC head, Rahm Emanuel, still is not impressed. He seems not to care at all about Christine’s credentials and her values. It is all about the money.
Emanuel is the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and part of his job is recruiting strong candidates. Emanuel uses one major yardstick to measure political viability, and that is fund-raising.
Hopefully the Sun-Times is wrong. It sounds as if Emanuel would support an amoral chimpanzee if it could raise enough money. And if the Sun-Times is not wrong, then things stink to high heaven. Unfortunately, there seems to bit of a rank odor in the air.
Liberal activists have been besieged by calls to donate money for candidate after candidate and cause after cause. Some days it seems overwhelming. But as Steven D. Levitt points out in his book, Freakonomics, Americans spend more money on chewing gum every year than they do on federal elections. So I guess it is up to us to show the Beltway crowd that candidates who share our values are valuable to us.
If you can spare the price of a pack of gum or two, please donate to Christine. Donate to as many outstanding candidates as you can. And if you would like, let Rahm and the DCCC know that a candidate’s value is not determined by the size of his or her war chest.
I want my country back!